University of Wisconsin-Stout

May 10, 2010

The creation of four video games by a University of Wisconsin-Stout class during the spring semester was all in the name of education — for the creators and users of the games.

Students in the 2D Game Design and Development course will be hosting a game release session from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 12, in Ballroom A of the Memorial Student Center. Visitors can play the games and learn about how and why they were developed. A website for the games also will be announced, allowing them to be played online.

Most of the 19 students in the class are seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in game design and development, a UW-Stout major approved by the UW System Board of Regents in 2009 and first offered last fall.

The course was offered for the first time this spring by Diane Christie, a math and computer science professor and director of the game design and development program. The class sought input from a middle school teacher about educational topics that might be the basis for video games for middle school-age students. The list was narrowed to four, representing chemistry, literature, biology and math.

“Students had to create the games from scratch. They learned a lot of teamwork, programming and artwork,” Christie said, adding that the class also learned other lessons, such as meeting deadlines and marketing.

The games were tested April 30 at St. Mark Lutheran Middle School in Eau Claire and then revised the last two weeks of class. “We had really good feedback. Kids thought it was the best day they had yet at school,” Christie said.

The games are:

“Hour Tower” — Users must solve a math puzzle to beat the clock and rescue a friend stuck in Aztec ruins.

“Digestive Disaster” — A super hero fights off digestive distress by shooting down hot peppers and healing ulcers.

“Booklord Treasure Island” — Based on the book “Treasure Island,” by Robert Louis Stevenson, players fight off pirates.

“Elementagedon” — Astronauts in a spaceship must use the correct elements to arm their weapons as they defend Earth from invaders.

Along with Christie, assisting the students with creating the games was Ellery Connell, an art and design professor.

For more information, contact Christie, game design and development program director, at 715-232-1213 or christied@uwstout.edu.

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